Wednesday Mashup: Nazmania

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri (43) celebrates a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Buffalo, New York March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Doug Benz

Good (victorious) morning, MLHS.

I’m still pretty excited about that second Kadri goal last night (he called it maybe the nicest he’s ever scored). His ninth point in his last seven games, it was a culmination of a good 200-foot sequence by the centerman: Kadri won the defensive zone draw before the puck worked its way around to Kulemin on the far wall. Kadri supported puck, dug it out, handed it off to Gunnarsson, and took off up the ice. Gunnarsson laid in a soft chip into a retrievable area down the left side for Lupul, who found Kadri, as he did all game, driving into the slot. Kadri turned Hedman inside out and deked past Bishop in one fluid movement. Poetry.

Speaking of the defensive zone draw win, Nazem won seven of seven last night and went 63% on the dot overall. If we take it back to a month ago today – back to the December 29th win over Carolina – Nazem Kadri has won 109 draws and lost 98 in the last fifteen games (53%). In his previous 36 games this season, Kadri won 220 and lost 307 (42%). Has something clicked?

If we drop the Dallas game, the Leafs have been making a collection of the best goalies in the game look pretty ordinary of late during this hot stretch: 24 goals total in six games against Rask, Miller, Price, Smith, Varlamov, and Bishop. That’s the offensive capacity of this team, in my eyes. Seeing the top line fly and the Kadri, Kulemin and Lupul trio offer a secondary threat is bringing back memories of last season’s sixth-best offense (league wide). The third line had its moments last night as well, but a piece like Bolland coming back and slotting in on line three could give this team the depth we’ve been pining for. The defense will probably never stop scaring us until its youngins have time to mature and management makes some improvements, but at least there seems to be a little more stability back there – provided Gleason is OK – and of course Bernier’s been there to clean up mess after mess.

Onto the links…

My game review from last night’s win
And Carlyle’s post game presser can be found here.

Jonas Siegel’s post game report
Touches on JvR’s career highs among other things.

Who knew the Lupul, Kadri and Kulemin line was smart?
Stats speak for themselves.

Kadri shines as Leafs cool off surging Lightning
Be nice to see Kadri hit 20 this year after all the huffing and puffing. He’s a playmaker first, but 6 in 26 is doable.

Tim Gleason’s injury isn’t serious according to Carlyle
Looked like it at the time.

Morgan Rielly: after a Leaf win against Tampa, the ceiling looks awfully high…
From Michael at VLM.

Here’s a list of Jonathan Bernier’s games sorted by shots against
That’s a lot of wins with 35 or more saves.

Dave Poulin talks trade deadline, state of the team
Transcription of Poulin’s interview on the radio yesterday.

  • theacs1966

    Don’t discount what Reimer has done this year.  Also, don’t expect too much from Bolland.  Karlsson came back and was able to play in last years playoffs, but he says he didn’t feel right until the halfway point of this season.  Bolland was playing above his head for a short time (15gms) and when he does come back , he will help, but don’t expect the same production out of him.  He may only be at about 70%, it may be as far as he can go.  Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he center’s the fourth line for the first few games.  His timing and conditioning will not be close to game shape, so temper your expectation of him being some kind of savior for the third line, he may not be back to himself till next season, and we don’t even know if he’ll be a Leaf then.  I’ll be glad to see him on the ice, but I’m not expecting him to pick up where he left off, he might be very disappointing, which wouldn’t be his fault just the nature of his injury and the long time off.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Solid game from Naz and Lupul and of course Bernier.  But lets be honest, that game was stolen; it happens and the Leafs will have had a few stolen from them by the end of the year. Between the posts and shot differential, Leafs were lucky to escape.  Especially since the pp and pk stank out the joint.
    But a very good 3rd period from the Leafs.  Strange they play better when tied than with the lead.
    Thing that jumped out at me, in terms of negative – the Leafs concede possession of the puck and their own blueline way too much and way too easily.  That seems to stem from a lack of compete and aggression – not the smashing, facepunching type, but the failure to challenge and battle.
    Oh, and they should rest Gleason for the next game and get Ranger in there.  No ownder Gleason has slowed a step or two in the last few years.  The man has no instinct for self-preservation.

  • MaxwellHowe

    theacs1966 Keep Bolland on the wing for awhile

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Did Tampa get a PP goal last night? The kill at the start of the 3rd was huge

  • Loric76

    theacs1966 Agree completely, except for the “we don’t even know if he’ll be a Leaf then” part.  I firmly believe that unless this season’s Mark Fraser can skate circles around him by playoff time, Nonis will resign him.  He won’t let Bolland walk after spending as much as he did to bring him in, especially with how short Bollands season was.

  • Loric76

    yes.

    https://twitter.com/MikeRichardsTSNhttps://twitter.com/MikeRichardsTSN/status/428497339779514368
    Have you changed your opinion? Does Bernier start every game before the Olympic Break? http://t.co/WU5qzsb8zE

  • Loric76

    MaxwellHowe that post played lights out last night

  • Knights2Leafs

    Nice addendum to last night’s article Alec.  Nice that we have some secondary scoring when RC finally put Lupul back on the left side of Kadri with Kulie on the right.  Even our 3rd line looks good at times.
    Interesting to note that every Tampa player played double digit minutes with the exception of Aulie who played about 5 minutes.  Contrast that with the Leafs where Holland, Bodie, Ashton and Orr all played less than 10 minutes. I really think this factors into the effort or compete level. It’s easier to go full out all the time when 4 lines are rolling.
    I’m ambivalent about Mason.  I don’t hate his game as many on here do, but last night not only did he play with his usual speed game, he was as physical as I’ve seen him play this year.  Hope he keeps that up.

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 MaxwellHowe Last I heard posts were part of the goalies equipment :)

  • Knights2Leafs

    MaxwellHowe 
    I’d only rest Gleason if he has some lingering effects from the hit.  He may not be a speed demon but he impresses the heck out of me with his ability to pivot quickly away from a forechecker giving him more time and space to clear the puck out of our end.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Knights2Leafs Orr should play 0 minutes.  Raymond was a filler this year.  Trade him for assets.  teams like Nashville and Pheonix are dying for some offence.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Ecven without a goal the tamp Bay pp was throwing the puck around and holding possession way too easily.  Think one goal was just at the end of a pp.  Its not just about results.  and weren’t 2 posts hit during one pp?

  • Zep2

    Im not sure if we stole the game  . Phil missed on a clear break, Gunnar was free in front of the net and elected to try a pass

    Conversely , after Naz got 2 , he missed the chance to get 2 or 3 apples trying to get the trick

  • MaxwellHowe

    Knights2Leafs MaxwellHowe I’ve liked his play as well, but its a long season and Rc shouldn’t burn anyone out.  Besides, a rested Ranger might be as useful as a hurting Gleason.  Right?  Right?

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Gotta have something to complain about I suppose

  • MaxwellHowe

    Zep2 You’re right, it wasn’t that bad.  Third period was fairly even.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe I thought we discussed the games here

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy So there were positives we could discuss as well isn’t there ?

  • Burtonboy

    That game might have been the best all round game I’ve seen Kadri play .Every facet of his game was excellent

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe I thought I mentioned some.  Lupul played his best game in some time.

  • theacs1966

    Loric76 theacs1966 OK, but we don’t’ know.  As it stands now he’s a UFA on July 1, if he’s not resigned by then he probably walks.  Nono might not want to give a 2-5 yr deal to a player so badly injured and who played so few games.  If he had not been hurt I’d say he’d already be signed, but that injury will play a large part of it.  If he can’t come back this year or only for 10 games and is ineffective, anyone would be reluctant to give him a contract.  Given his play and his salary he’ll probably ask for 5 mil, would you pay that?  Even for one season?  Wouldn’t he look good healthy in Pit?  Or on one of the western teams?   If the player doesn’t want to be here, it doesn’t matter how much you throw at him, he’ll leave, we don’t know if he even wants to stay here or if he wants to finish here?  Both Fraser and Bolland are UFA’s, they both might leave, Fraser for sure, but the Leafs might think that they can get a younger, healthier player for 5 million.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy His faceoff improvement has been remarkable.  If he wants to work his way into Carlyle’s heart, thats the way to go

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy On left wing lol

  • Burtonboy

    @MaxwellHowe @Burtonboy I noticed this a couple of weeks ago and posted about it . Yet a lot of posters and for sure the media keeps harping on the fact he’s terrible on the dot . For a 2c with a yr and a 1/2  experience in the league he’s been dam good

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Fair point.  You were right.  I had argued that Lupul shouldn’t play left wiing because he was weak on his off wing at the boards.  Turns out, from what I saw the last few weeks,  he’s not much better  along the boards on the right wide.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy Loops will never be a great defensive player imo.

  • Burtonboy

    hoolihan For a 2 c with less then 2 yrs experience in the league? I think he’s dam good considering . Bozak and Bolland are no better

  • Knights2Leafs

    hoolihan 
    That’s the problem.  People keep looking at his overall stat on faceoffs.  As BB has pointed out for awhile he’s improving.  It’s like a goalie that gets off to a bad start with his save percentage. It takes a long, long time to get it back to above average.  That’s why sometimes you’ve got to look at these things in 10 game or 20 game intervals.

  • Dink

    MaxwellHowe Knights2Leafs Every team could have signed him for a tryout last September, why do you think he is tradeable now?

  • Dink

    hoolihan I agree, let’s not get carried away with Kadri fever.

    But I am starting to think at his age we should keep him around at least one more year and reassess him then.

  • MaxwellHowe

    @Dink  Noticed Mackeniie ( I believe it was him) said that the Rangers might trade callahan if negotiations don’t work out. And why? Because the Rangers don’t see themselves as top notch contenders and don’t want to see him go for nothing.
    Leafs fans – and obviously management – need to adopt that same perspective. Leafs are maybe only marginally better than NYR. can’t let assets walk away because we harbor some notion that the Stanley Cup is a realistic possibility – or that someone like Raymond could ever be the guy to get the :Leafs over the top.
    Building a prospect base has to continue.

  • Marlies Man

    Loric76 I still have confidence in Reimer. He’s 10-6 on the year. Yes, he’s rattled now, and his numbers have suffered because of it,  but in the long haul we need to have him playing well too. Bernier can’t play every game. Recipe for disaster.

  • Dink

    It is hard to dismiss the Leafs are one of the teams that give up the most shots and goals in the league. Will this change this year? 

    not likely

  • Dink

    CanuckUKinToronto I think he has worked on it.

  • MaxwellHowe

    @Dink I garee.  It scares me that no one in the organization seems to know why this is the case.  Hard to address something if the root cause is not determined.

  • Marlies Man

    @DinkCanuckUKinToronto I mean, it is a process. For sure, he’s working on it, but people have expected radical improvements to occur practically overnight.

  • Dink

    CanuckUKinToronto MaxwellHowe Knights2Leafs Isn’t that what the Leafs need?

  • Dink

    CanuckUKinToronto I think it will tighten up in playoffs because the other team will play tighter, not sure the Leafs have any say in it the way they are playing.

    If they make the playoffs that is.

  • PEIleafnation

    TheCanucksnaphook sat vs sens

  • Marlies Man

    PEIleafnationTheCanucksnaphook Good call. We need him to be sharp as well. And he owns the Sens.

  • Cameron19

    TheCanucksnaphook I don’t.  There isn’t a much bigger Reimer supporter than me, but I’d ride Bernier into the break. Possible exception being the Sens, or if Bernier really shits the bed.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Bruffins
    Yeah, Kadri on one draw in the defensive end last night drew it back safely into the corner and the Tampa winger was the first one to the puck.

  • Cameron19

    CanuckUKinToronto This is a skill that takes years to refine, and even the best guys don’t finish consistently over 50%.

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 TheCanucksnaphook Reimer plays the Sens really well in the’re own building . Without looking it up I don’t think he has as good a record against them at the ACC

  • Dink

    PEIleafnation TheCanucksnaphook wasn’t Reimer pulled against Sens at home earlier? I would ride Bernier too like Cameron said.

  • Great Dane

    Good morning guys – after a week without ADSL I’m online again.

    Carlyle is still getting far less out of this team than he should. The Leafs a living of stellar performance from some players like our goalies, first line, Naz and a few others.

    PK is awful (still), shots against the same, line-up is mind boggling. That the Leafs are wining despite that  just shows how much talent is not this team.

  • Dink

    Great Dane I tend to agree…there is no system.

  • PEIleafnation

    Great Dane so nonis trade deadline will be an improve PK guy?

  • Dink

    TheCanucksnaphook Great Dane you always say that

  • PEIleafnation

    any official word on Gleason, day to day etc? not just from last night